First the A/W collection from Burberry; now, just launching for 2017, Virginia Woolf is the inspiration for one of the 27 new ‘Everlasting Liquid Lipstick shades’ from Kat Von D, the cosmetics line of tattoo artist Katherine Von Drachenberg.
Who will look good with lips of deep stone grey I don’t know, but it’s certainly a different take on Woolf than the rich brocades of the more usual Orlando direction. And for the London that Virginia Woolf (and Mrs Dalloway) loved, what could be more appropriate?
This is not, incidentally, the only literary referenced colour from the pastel Goth palette of the LA based Kat Von D. There’s also Plath, deep russet red; Lolita, a chestnut rose; Lolita II, a terra cotta nude; and Nosferatu, a blood crimson. All can be enjoyed in the knowledge that they are completely free of animal-derived ingredients and never tested on animals.
Is Mrs Dalloway set on 13 June 1923, as argued by Harvena Richter (and later Elaine Showalter), or Wednesday 20th June as claimed by Morris Beja, or on an imaginary Wednesday in June 1923 as David Bradshaw asserts in his notes to the Oxford World’s Classics edition of the book (citing a discrepancy in the references to Surrey cricket match results read by Septimus and, later, Peter Walsh)?
In the end, does it matter? Probably not, but I like Elaine Showalter’s suggestion in the Guardian of celebrating Dallowday, whether on the 13, 20th or another day ‘in the middle of June.’
Establishments in Bloomsbury (and beyond) are increasingly getting in on the Dalloway/Virginia Woolf act – for example the ‘Dalloway Terrace’ on Great Russell Street. The time is ripe for a day of literary celebration and putting Dallowayday ‘on the London summer calendar.’ A ‘Dalloway cocktail’ is sure to please, even if blazing heat may be off the menu.
Image: Advertising clock in Dalloway territory.
Another good article on the British Library website in their Discovering 20th century literature series, this one by David Bradshaw who is editor of the Oxford University Press edition of Mrs Dalloway.
The article also includes links to many more digitised images of Virginia Woolf manuscript pages, including the travel notebook (a page from which above, © The Society of Authors) that she kept in her twenties in which she writes of her ‘longing’ for the city and the beauty of ‘a wet London street, with lamplight twisted on the pavement’.
Bradshaw quotes entries from VW’s diaries in 1916 (as above) and 1940 both expressing her abiding love for London and its noisy, busy streets thronged with people:
‘What shall I think of that[s] liberating & refreshing?’ Woolf wrote in her diary on 29 March 1940. ‘… The river. Say the Thames at London bridge; & buying a notebook; & then walking along the Strand & letting each face give me a buffet’
Just as Elizabeth Dalloway is uplifted by her excursion from Dalloway territory (of Westminster and Mayfair) into the City –
people busy about their activities, hands putting stone to stone, minds eternally occupied not with trivial chatterings … but with thoughts of ships, of business, of law, of administration and with it all so stately (she was in the Temple), gay (there was the river), pious (there was the Church) (p. 116).
Bradshaw writes well on the ambiguity of Clarissa Dalloway’s London, at once a source of elation (the ‘divine vitality’ of London life) but also a ‘gilded confinement’ – not even Clarissa any more … but Mrs Richard Dalloway.
Read the full article at the British Library website here.